It seemed as though she were trying to deceive herself or us, but we made no comment, presently taking our departure.
It was not until many months later that I learned what had happened on that dreadful day. Jack Ballard and the Habbertons left Horsham Manor the following afternoon and it was many weeks before I saw Una in New York, for some instinct had restrained me; not until some time after I had Jerry’s first letter, just a few lines written from somewhere in Manitoba, merely telling me that he was in good health and asking me not to worry. But brief as it was, this message cheered me inexpressibly.
I could not bring myself to go to Briar Hills again, but managed a meeting with Miss Gore, who told me that Marcia was in a more than usually fiendish temper most of the time—quite unbearable, in fact. She was going away to Bar Harbor, she thought, and the certainty of Miss Gore’s tenure of office depended much upon Marcia’s treatment of her. They had quarreled. To be a poor relation was one thing, to be a martyr another.
She couldn’t understand Marcia’s humor, moody and irascible by turns, and once when Miss Gore had mentioned Jerry’s name she flew into a towering rage and threw a hair brush through a mirror—a handsome mirror she particularly liked.
Jerry’s affair with Marcia was ended. There could be no possible doubt about that. Further than this Miss Gore knew nothing. It was enough. I was content, so content that in my commiseration I held her hand unduly long and she asked me what I was going to do with it, and not knowing I dropped it suddenly and made my exit I fear rather awkwardly. What could I have done with it? A fine woman that, but cryptic.
It was June when Jerry left, not until midwinter that he returned to Horsham Manor. He was very much changed, older-looking, less assertive, quieter, deeper-toned, more thoughtful. It was as though the physical Jerry that I knew had been subjected to some searching test which had eliminated all superfluities, refined the good metal in him, solidified, unified him. And the physical was symbolic of the spiritual change. I knew that since that night in July the world had tried him in its alembic with its severest tests and that he had emerged safely. He was not joyous but he seemed content. Life was no longer a game. It was a study. Bitter as experience had been, it had made him. Perfect he might not be but sound, sane, wholesome. Jerry had grown to be a man!
But Jerry and I were to have new moments of rapprochement. As the days of his stay at the Manor went on, our personal relations grew closer. He spoke of his letters to Una and of hers to him, but his remarks about her were almost impersonal. It seemed as though some delicacy restrained him, some newly discovered embarrassment which made the thought of seeing her impossible and so he did not go to pay his respects to her. Indeed, he was content just to stay at